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EDITORIAL

Jason Pitsch

FTC finally tells Shinola to stop deceiving consumers

Jason Pitsch

Better late than never. As you may recall, we ran an editorial calling out Shinola’s deceptive marketing practices in August of 2013, titled “Will The Real ‘Shinola’ Please Stand Up.” In the editorial, we precisely detailed how virtually all of the components of the watches are produced in Switzerland or China. However, what Shinola has lead everyone to believe is that the watches are built from scratch in the US, despite the fact that everything except the straps are imported. Assembly of the watch movements, casing up, assembly of the watches, and quality control is all done in Detroit. And that is a good thing as it has created US jobs in a city that desperately needs new jobs. The problem is if Shinola markets the watches as “American Made” – it is an outright lie. And they know what

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Jason Pitsch

Vaucher Manufacture Private Label

Jason Pitsch

For the past three years, Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier (VMF), which was started in 2003, as the separate movement division of Parmigiani Fleurier, has been offering something called Vaucher Private Label. Michel Parmigiani founded Parmigiani Mesure et Art du Temps SA in 1990, which received a large investment from the Sandoz Family Foundation in 1995, leading to the acquisition of a number of key watchmaking businesses that ultimately became the movement division of Parmigiani Fleurier, the watch brand. With the help of the Sandoz Family Foundation (a large Swiss-based pharmaceutical company), in 2001 Parmigiani Fleurier was able to acquire Atokalpa (balances, escapements, and balance springs), Les Artisans Boîtiers (cases) and Elwin (screws, gear wheels, and other very small components). Vaucher Manufacture caliber 5401 Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier was then founded in 2003 when Parmigiani Mesure et Art du Temps SA was divided

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Jason Pitsch

EDITORIAL: Why the term "manufacture" matters

Jason Pitsch

A manufacture is a watch factory that designs develops and manufactures, at least, one complete caliber “in-house.” This has been the definition of the term for as long as I can remember. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. The use of the word “manufacture” or “in-house” initially came into popularity as a marketing term used to differentiate timepieces which have exclusively designed, developed and manufactured calibers, versus those that don’t. On the surface, it is a very simple distinction. However, due to improper use of the term, primarily by watch companies and journalists, the definition has become muddled. With such ambiguous use, the term has evolved to the point where there are essentially different levels of in-house movements: true in-house or primarily built in house. Instead of getting too in-depth into the different levels, I will just say that

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Jason Pitsch

Apple announces watchOS 2, Hermes Watch and iOS 9

Jason Pitsch

In addition to the new Apple TV, the iPad PRO and the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus announcements – yesterday Apple unveiled the Hermes Watch, alongside a new release of the watch operating system watchOS 2. Further, they announced that iOS 9 will be available for download Sept 16. The Hermes Watch adds a nice twist to the Apple Watch saga, with a variety of new high-end leather strap options made from distinctive Hermes leather. And the updated watch operating will surely make the Apple Watch experience a little bit better for current and future Apple Watch owners. But it is the latter announcement, specifically that iOS 9 will be available next week that excited the most yesterday during the Apple keynote. Why? Professionalwatches.com has been selected as one of the “indie” publications who will be featured in Apple’s

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Jason Pitsch

The Smart-Mechanical Watch Hybrid We've All Been Waiting For?

Jason Pitsch

According to the Nico Gerard website, father-son duo Andreas and Adam Pluemer, who have strong ties to Silicon Valley and a deep understanding of manufacturing – wanted to “bridge the divide between style and function.” And so, they created the Pinnacle, which the company describes as, “A timepiece with a luxury chronometer and a smart watch joined by a single bracelet. The chronometer is situated on the outside of the wrist; the smart watch is situated on the inside of the wrist. Nico Gerard bridges the gap between fashion and function.” The mechanical part of the watch is a basic Swiss COSC-certified chronometer movement with hours, minutes, central seconds and date. The entry-level version comes in stainless steel and includes a 38 mm steel Apple Watch. We estimate that the cost for the movement is no more than $300 and

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Disconnect between Switzerland and smartwatches

Today, Swiss watchmaker IWC announced plans to release a wearable device embedded in a watch strap. The idea behind IWC Connect, much like Montblanc’s e-Strap, is that traditional watch owners can stay connected, without replacing their beloved mechanical timepiece with a smartwatch. Our contributor, Chris Clark, wearing his Apple Watch today. But don’t let the image fool you. He has made it clear he will not be relinquishing the IWC, Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCoultre or any of the mechanical watches he currently owns. In theory, it makes some sense. In real life, however, paying $350 or more to add a cheap device to your luxurious mechanical watch is ludicrous. Especially when you consider the price points of an IWC or Montblanc. The people that own this level of mechanical timepieces are wealthy and typically own more than one. If they want a

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Jason Pitsch

Why should watch companies sell online?

Jason Pitsch

It’s the year 2015, and excluding products that cannot be shipped via FedEX, USPS or UPS – such as cars, boats and other very large items – virtually all other products are available for purchase online. The age old argument that luxury items, such as watches, need to be purchased in person, is no longer valid. Everyday that a competing watch brand is online and your watch brand is not, you’re losing sales, and ultimately market share. Am I saying to close retail locations altogether? Of course not. By combining online and brick and mortar, the cumulative result should be higher. One only needs to look at Apple to see how they do both, with perfection. I have personally made numerous purchases from Apple online, Apple stores and from Apple authorized resellers. This is how business is done now. It’s

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Jason Pitsch

EDITORIAL: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

Jason Pitsch

The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 is easily the most polarizing timepiece Patek Philippe has released in the past decade. At 42 mm in diameter, it’s big by Patek standards. Not to mention it is a pilot watch, with two pushers mounted atypically on the left side of the case. Clearly a departure from a brand whose pieces are seen as classical and elegant. We’ve heard a lot of outrage regarding the design of the timepiece, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the scoreboard (sales) will determine the success of failure or this product, not the opinion of elitist journalists and collectors. Will it end up being a “one-and-done,” a model that never gets produced again? Hard to tell, but I doubt it. Patek Philippe is a brand that’s in high demand among serious collectors.

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Open Letter: To Mr. Thomas Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank, On Behalf of Entrepreneurs from H. Moser & Cie Watches

Neuhausen am Rheinfall, January 15th, 2015 Dear Mr. President, I wanted to personally and publicly thank you, regarding your dramatic move releasing the minimum Swiss Franc exchange rate of 1.20 to the Euro. When I woke up that morning I had a strange feeling. As I checked the news, I wondered, “What am I going to do today?” aside from our usual business in January. There was no new conflict, no big news about emerging markets slowing down, and thank goodness, no new terror attack. I am an entrepreneur, and I own a small watch manufacture called H. Moser & Cie, based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Very Rare is our tagline at H. Moser & Cie. Very Rare, because we produce 1,000 watches, we are entrepreneurs in an independent, family-owned business that employs 55 people, and because we are a manufacture

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Dilemma: The Apple Watch, Form Follows Function

The principe that the shape of a building, or a product should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose is a good one. However, when it comes to smartwatches, the idea that a rectangle device works better does not mean it will translate to a universally good aesthetic the way a round watch design does. Therefore, in my opinion, the biggest dilemma with the Apple watch (and any rectangle smartwatch that wants to be more than a single purpose watch, like a fitness watch), is that while digital screens are not typically round, most watches are. The problem is that a watch is a very personal item, made to be worn on your wrist, not held in your hand like a smartphone. So while a rectangle smartphone is perfectly fine, I think a lot of consumers will have

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